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Representative Office

For foreign companies wishing to explore market opportunities or manage its company affairs without conducting any commercial activities in Singapore, a representative office is an option to consider. Essentially, a representative office in Singapore is registered as a temporary arrangement for conducting marketing research activities or feasibility studies on behalf of its parent company.

business men signing documents


A representative office does not have any legal status and thus, cannot be engaged in any commercial or revenue yielding activities, or enter into any contracts or transactions. Like a branch office, a representative office is not a separately incorporated entity; its liabilities extend to its parent company. As a representative office does not have any legal status nor is it allowed to be engaged in any commercial activities, it does not need to file nor maintain any statutory document or submit tax returns in Singapore.

To register a representative office, the foreign company must contact International Enterprise Singapore, which is the registration authority for representative offices for all sectors except banking, finance and insurance. Foreign companies in these sectors must register with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Since a representative office is meant to be temporary, it must be converted into a subsidiary company or branch office if the parent company wishes to continue its operation in Singapore after three years.

A representative office is suitable for foreign companies that wish to set up an administrative office to explore business opportunities in Singapore or coordinate activities on behalf of its parent company.

Compliance Requirements

Pros and Cons of a Private Limited Company

  • It is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to stake a presence in Singapore.
  • There is no registered capital required.
  • It is easy to manage since there is no need to maintain any statutory document or file any tax return to the authorities in Singapore.
  • It can only engage in a very limited range of activities, and it cannot perform any revenue-generating transactions.
  • A representative office needs to be converted into a branch office or subsidiary company if the parent company decides to continue its operations in Singapore in the long term.


VOPlus can advise you on the most suitable type of business entity for your business and help you convert a private limited company in Singapore promptly. Contact us today for a consultation!